There are so many hidden gems in our amazing city that many either don’t see regularly or, in some cases, don’t even know exist within city limits; I feel privileged to live amongst some of those gems and try to take the time to appreciate them every day. These diamonds in the rough are part of what makes Philadelphia such an intricate, unique and fascinating city. We Philadelphians wear a chip on our shoulder partly because of the stigma that people have of us – exemplified through loveable nicknames such as “Philthadelphia”, among others – but once people get to know us our humble beauty shines through. We are dedicated to our city’s rich history and not only want to preserve it but to share it with others. We are a hardworking lot, thick with laborers and tradesmen and women reminiscent of an ancient empire – with the ingenious architecture to back it up.
The arched, stone bridges of Fairmount Park, specifically those in the Wissahickon Valley are where I decided to focus this project as I feel they are a unique metaphor for our city and those who dwell in it. We are a city with strong roots in the past but look forward to the future; our city, just like it’s people, are breaking down walls and building bridges to either cross an obstacle or let the water flow more freely underneath. Like trees we are all climbing – at our own rate – fighting for the same nutrients and sunlight to grow as big and tall and strong as we can be. We might get in each others way, steal, trample and shade each other out but somehow – there is still room for all of us. From the brightest stars of our city, shining down like rays of sun to those who prefer the anonymity of the shadows, we are all a part of this city and we all make it go ‘round. We all have a place and if we work hard and take the time to do things the right way we will stand the test of time; just as these bridges have done, just as our city is doing now and just as Radian hopes to do in the future.
This is my concept from a project I am humbled and honored to have participated in.
This winter I was commissioned for four photographs to hang in the lobby of the newly renovated offices at Radian, a mortgage insurance company based in Philadelphia.
When it came time to renovate their corporate offices at 1601 Market Street, it was suggested that, rather than use stock imagery, why not give up and coming Philadelphia artists an incredible opportunity? The senior team loved the idea and immediately gave the green light.
A modern space conducive to collaboration with state of the art equipment, this new floor design is an out of the box concept for Radian; it seemed only fitting that their concept for artwork be out of the box as well.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate; the only specs we were given were that our images had to be taken in Philadelphia and it was preferred that we chose subjects that weren’t ‘typical’ Philly landmarks. As our contact person said “I can take a photo of City Hall with my phone and so can a thousand other people. We want people to see that pillar or building detail and say “I know that place..” but have to think a minute before figuring out where they know it from.”
Challenging, indeed, but I love a project that makes you think.
Being from the northwest part of the city, I focused on locations I personally frequented and spaces that spoke to me. The Wissahickon Valley was a no-brainer for me; my images and concept were immediately accepted.
I am honored and proud that my work will have a permanent home in this city that I love so much. I hope to have the opportunity to work with other local Philadelphia businesses in the future!